CEDAR RAPIDS - Stacy Shaffer is hardcore when it comes to autographs.
"My best estimate is 7,000 to 8,000 total," the Marion man said. "Some day when I get bored, I'll try and count them all."
Shaffer refers to himself as "That Autograph Dude." He has a Facebook page that shows some of his treasures and has almost 2,000 followers on Twitter (@autographdude).
He does a regular "Autograph Weekly Podcast" with a fellow collector and has segments on YouTube in which he discusses collecting, how to best obtain autographs TTM (through the mail), etc. He also opens mail to show off what 'graphs he may have gotten that day. Here's an example.
"I'm pretty all over the board with this," he said. "This was a year when it wasn't just sports stuff ... a lot of entertainers, music, tech people.
"It's like Christmas every day. You go to the mailbox and you never know what you're going to get back."
Recent successes have come from comedian Jerry Seinfeld and movie director Cameron Crowe. One of his best successes over the years has been a pair of autographed wrestling tights from TNA personality Matt Morgan.
Last week, he just finished off sending 50 letters to San Diego Padres players at their spring training complex in Arizona.
"It started in grade school," said Shaffer, 38. "We had this project where we had to write to somebody. I think the first two I got back were former Hawkeye football players Jon Alt and Jonathan Hayes. It's been fairly non-stop since then."
Hopefully I'll hook up with Stacy soon for a Podcast. Keep collecting, That Autograph Dude!!
The autograph I'd like to share with you this week is of Harmon Killebrew. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I'm a diehard, big-time Minnesota Twins fan.
I'm a little too young to remember much of "Killer"'s career. He hit 573 career home runs and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
My personal contact with him came roughly 10 years ago. He made an appearance in Cedar Rapids for Aegon, I want to say, and I got invited over to his hotel suite at the Collins Plaza for a quick interview.
The suite was jammed with folks in suits and ties, and one of those suits introduced me to Harmon. He immediately shook my hand, told me it was a pleasure to meet me and ushered me over to a couch so we could sit down and chat.
What an incredibly nice man, which just about anyone who ever met Killebrew could tell you. The ball, by the way, was a gift from my in-laws.Great signature, with 'HOF '84' inscribed on it. Quite the treasure.